Skip to main content
Identifier: RG 34/A

Rutgers University Art Gallery and the Fine Arts Collection


  • 1966-2009

Scope and Content Note

The papers in this collection represent records of the Rutgers University Art Gallery and the Fine Arts Collection which was the predecessor of The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum. The collection is divided into two Series. Series I contains the operations and administrative papers of the Rutgers University Art Gallery 1966-1979. Series II is a collection of brochures, invitations and press clippings from the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum 1983-2009.


0.4 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box)

Language of Materials



The records described in this inventory are those of the Rutgers University Art Gallery and the Fine Arts Collection from 1966-1979. Additional files regarding The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum through 2009 are included. The Rutgers University Art Gallery was the predecessor of The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, which is one of the most distinguished university-based museums in the nation. The Museum houses more than 60,000 works including Russian and Soviet works from the Dodge Collection, American Art from the 18th Century to the present and European Art from the 15th Century to the present, as well as holdings of works on paper including prints, rare books, drawings, photographs and other illustrations.

Administrative History of the Rutgers University Art Gallery

The Rutgers University Art Gallery began operation in 1966, at which time Voorhees Hall on the New Brunswick campus was redesigned to house the Gallery. Voorhees Hall was the home of the University Library from 1905 to 1956, later serving as University offices. In 1966, Voorhees Hall was redesigned as an art building containing offices, lecture halls, and the University Art Gallery.

The purpose of the University Art Gallery was to present a wide variety of exhibits to the public. Its mission was to serve not only the needs of the student population in this respect, but the community as well; as part of Rutgers' responsibility in its function as a State institution. In keeping with this mission exhibitions which related specifically to New Jersey were a prime concern of the Gallery. Along these same lines, the Gallery offered services to the community such as poetry readings, and concert series, and lectures. The University Art Gallery was a part of the Department of the Fine Arts Collection. The Fine Arts Collection was made up of over 3500 paintings, prints and sculptures which were either on display on the New Brunswick, Newark and Camden campuses, stored in the Galley's basement or on loan to other institutions.

The current collection is comprised of a general survey of the history of the art of the Western world including the United States [18th Century] from the 15th Century through the late 20th. The strongest areas of the collection are those of the 19th and early 20th century French, English and American paintings and graphics. Works, by Constable, Turner, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Whistler and Cassatt are included in the collection. One of the goals of the Fine Arts Collection was to develop an area of strength in 19th century graphics. To this end, several classes of the University donated funds. While under the leadership of Phillip Dennis Cate the Gallery mounted over seventy-five exhibitions.

The Gallery has a "Friends of the University Art Gallery" which is a membership organization comprised of all individuals interested in art and supporting the activities of the University Art Gallery and the Fine Arts Collection; as well as in taking advantage of the services rendered by the Gallery.

With the opening of the renamed Janet Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum in 1983 the exhibition space for the Rutgers collection was quadrupled. The new Museum carries on the mission of the Rutgers University Art Gallery to both serve the art world and the Rutgers' community. The Voorhees Family has long been a patron of Rutgers University and sponsored such campus fixtures as the Voorhees Library (the original Art Gallery home) and Voorhees Chapel. Jane Voorhees Zimmerli was actively involved in the life of the Rutgers community and her son Alan Voorhees and daughter-in-law Natalie Voorhees made financial contributions to the building of the Museum.

Arrangement and Provenance Note

The material is arranged into two series as follows:

  1. Series I: Rutgers University Art Gallery/ Zimmerli Art Museum Operations and Administrative Work. Acquired by administrative transfer
  2. Series II: Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum Files. These records were derived from individual documents taken from the university archives vertical file.
Inventory to the Records of the Rutgers University Art Gallery and the Fine Arts Collection, 1966-2009 RG 34/A
Edited Full Draft
Helen B. Parker
May 2012
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Part of the Rutgers University Archives Repository

Rutgers University Libraries
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
169 College Avenue
New Brunswick NJ 08901-1163
732-932-7012 (Fax)